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Friendly Atheist

For Friendly Atheist readers and friendly atheists in general!

Website: http://www.friendlyatheist.com
Members: 742
Latest Activity: Mar 15

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Facebook and Expressing Thanks for a Loved Ones Passing

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See? Republicans Aren’t Anti-Science!

So that's how the GOP plans to spin its reputation...
(via Chris Weyant at the New Yorker)

Cochran (Georgia) City Council Will Remove Christian Flag Above City Hall

A few weeks ago I wrote about how the city council members in Cochran, Georgia were going to fly a Christian flag in front of City Hall and the local courthouse against the advice of their attorney.Even worse, the City Hall flag was going up to promote a "Bible-reading marathon sponsored by the International Bible Reading Association."
Americans United for Separation of Church and State was quick to send letters to both the council members and county attorney warning them of the legal consequences if they kept this up:

Texas High School With No Sex Education Program Sees Chlamydia Outbreak

A Texas high school practically welcomed a chlamydia outbreak with open arms by ignorantly assuming their student body, if not taught about sex, will not engage in sexual activity.Letters went home to parents in the Crane Independent School District after three chlamydia cases were reported within two weeks. According to the letter, a neighboring county is also being affected and the numbers are significant.
The District's student handbook can be found online where their standards on human sexuality classes, if they are ever offered, are detailed.

Christian Sex-Ed Book Makes Its Way Into Australian Public Schools

Australian public schools offer “special religious instruction” (SRI) which is something of a joke when you realize how badly that privilege is abused. In theory, it’s great because kids can learn about the beliefs of all different faiths. But in many schools, the religious education is primarily Christian and the education veers into heavy indoctrination. Volunteers -- and they’re always Christian, it seems -- often use the time with students to make converts instead of merely educating them about what they believe.The latest example of this is the publication Teen Sex By the Book, a sex-ed textbook from a Christian perspective. Many schools are using the materials to educate students, and the messages in the book are absurd.Deanne Carson, a "leading Australian Sex Education expert," analyzed the book for Fairness In Religions In School (FIRIS) and what she found was mind-blowingly awful.

A Humanist Responds to Matthew Vines’ God and the Gay Christian

Last year, Matthew Vines published a book that was controversial for a number of reasons, but let's just start with the title: God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships.
Vines basically offers his own understanding of why the so-called "clobber verses" don't really condemn homosexuality as many Christians believe. As you can imagine, a lot of progressive Christians praised Vines' approach. For an evangelical Christian, this was a radical move.Many conservative Christians, of course, had rebuttals to the book, usually saying that Vines misunderstood the Bible verses and the Bible did indeed condemn homosexuality.But Humanist James Croft offers a very different kind of response to Vines' book.

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Comment by Marc Draco on February 21, 2012 at 6:37am
I think you may be oversimplifying that a bit, Natalie. We have the records of the winners, not the losers. I don't know much of modern Judaism, but in the ancient world,if the Bile is to be trusted, they were a nasty bunch; and this is by their own account.
Comment by Natalie A Sera on February 20, 2012 at 8:01pm

Oh, another example: people condemn the "Abrahamic" faiths because of the damage that Christians and Muslims have done to the other peoples of the world. Well, Judaism is an Abrahamic faith, but Jews were decidedly NOT involved in the persecutions, murders, inquisitions or forced conversion, except as victiims. An example is that, in the entire history of slavery in the US, there exactly 3, count 'em THREE Jewish slaveholders. There were a significant number of Jews in the country at the time, but the majority didn't go in for slavery. The word "Abrahamic religion" paints with too broad a brush.

Comment by Natalie A Sera on February 20, 2012 at 7:56pm

I need to talk about something that is bothering me, and I finally figured out that this might be the best place, because I've been reading Hemant's blog for quite a while, and he is truly the most "Positive Atheist" I've seen.

I've been appalled by the extreme hostility I've seen expressed, mostly toward Christians, but also toward Muslims and Jews, based on a limited, rigid, hide-bound reading of their scriptures. The authors of this nastiness don't distinguish between Islamists and Muslims, Christianists and Christians, nor Judaists and Jews. They view religious scriptures as if these ancient documents which were written in their own cultural context, and in the metaphors and language of their own time, are the literal codex of how modern practitioners of these faiths think and behave. I thought only Fundies did that!

I am going to concentrate on the antisemitism I've witnessed, because I'm most knowledgeable about Judaism, having been born into that ethnic group and having been fairly well educated in its history as well as modern Reform Jewish beliefs.

There have been a number of offensive things pushed HARD by several members of AN. One is that the early Jews were genocidal (and by implication, that they still are). They ignore the fact that there were LOTS of tribes in that land at that time, and they were ALL duking it out, and when history was written by the winners, it tended to be exaggerated. Jews were no more genocidal than anyone else in the area at the time, and there are different reasons for why those tribes are no longer with us, the primary one being Christian and Muslim forced conversion. And Jews are not genocidal at this time, either. Yes, there IS a war going on in the middle east, but it is 2-sided, which these authors conveniently ignore. For example, one of them made an analogy to the immigrants who came to the US and took Native American land. But the difference is that it is well proven archaeologically, linguistically and genetically that the Jews originated in that land, and it was not THEIR fault that they were driven out or killed by the Romans, and those who were left were ALSO subject to the pressure of Islamic forced conversion. Even so, there was always a small Jewish presence in the land.

Another offensive argument is that Judaism is merely a religion, and to be scorned along with the rest of them. Well, I and many other born Jews do not believe in the god of the Jewish writings, but that does not make us any less Jews. Our community regards us as Jews, and we regard ourselves as Jews. Hemant was born into the Jain community of India -- I'm sure he still has connections with it, if only to enjoy the food and music and dancing, while still not believing in their religious ideas. But the authors of the extremist posts do not want to grant to Jews the same right that they grant to other ethnicities. It's OK to go to a Japanese Obon dance while not believing in Amaterasu Omikami; it's OK to celebrate Las Posadas while not believing in Jesus, but it's NOT OK to celebrate the New Year of the Trees (Tu b'Shvat) because it's a Jewish, and therefore "religious" holiday?

The antisemitism that I've seen expressed (those are only the 2 examples that come to mind at the moment), makes me not want to be here -- I had hoped that the AN would be a community that I could feel like a part of, but I just don't see it that way. Please tell me I'm wrong!

Comment by Marc Draco on February 20, 2012 at 6:56pm
Yeah, thought the same myself.
Comment by Susan Stanko on February 20, 2012 at 4:45pm

He probably got banned for spamming various groups.

Comment by qıƃ ɟ ǝıɔɐɹʇ on February 20, 2012 at 4:43pm

I got an e-mail notifying me of a post by Chris Volkay on this page but I'm not able to see his post here and am unable to go the website he advertised in the post (which was replicated in the e-mail). I also cannot find him among our members. What gives?

Comment by Steph S. on February 12, 2012 at 10:31pm

I'll check out your website Chris. Thanks for the link.

Comment by Lary9 on September 29, 2011 at 10:23am
What does the word "respect" mean to you? That's where differences in approach may arise. Also, sometimes "making a point" involves silence and the highest possible civility. Respectfulness itself is often a stronger 'point' than anything else. It often speaks more loudly about its owner's positions than any dialogue possibly could.
We're dealing with deeper things here than just logic alone. Just look at the respectful civil disobedience of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Comment by AtheistTech on September 28, 2011 at 11:23pm
I have a question: If you are respectful all the time, how do you make a point with someone you are respecting?
Comment by Tony Ryan on September 20, 2011 at 5:00am

Thanks Steph.

I'm just trying to promote critical thought!

 

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